New MiEN K-12 Esports White Paper Available: Creating an Esports Space That Supports Academic Success and SEL
- June 20, 2022
- Anthony Bowie
Author: Dr. Christina Counts
K-12 esports, or competitive online video gaming is a rapidly growing and trending industry projected to surpass $1.8 billion in 2022. The growing popularity of esports as a school extracurricular is supported by the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which aims to ensure that all students have the knowledge and skills they need to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic. K-12 esports has shown promise in helping students attain these proficiencies––according to leading advocate and educator Chris Aviles, scholastic esports provides the same social and emotional learning (SEL) benefits as traditional athletics, including teamwork, leadership, and a sense of belonging.
With all of the benefits that esports offers, schools are looking to start their own scholastic esports programs to help students grow, learn, and gain valuable SEL skills. To help schools implement esports as a pedagogical support and extracurricular, we have created a white paper titled “Using Esports to Teach K–12 Academic and Social Emotional Skills: Design of Esports Environment Supports Skill Development Outcomes.”
Being part of an esports team helps students develop STEM- and STEAM-based skills as well as SEL attributes such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving and even leadership that will help them thrive in school and careers.
NASEF produces a free state-approved curriculum for esports that can be used during the day or after school. NASEF’s courses are aligned with ELA, CTE, ISTE, NGSS, and SEL learning standards, and most qualify as STEM curriculum. Through these courses, students are able to follow pathways that guide them to future college and career opportunities.
The design of an esports lab space is critical to maintaining a functional and engaging environment. Whatever the size of your budget, you can put together an K-12 esports lab that supports actual gaming. An engaging esports space can also host tournaments, collaborative training sessions, and fan sections.
Esports programs can be started even with a small budget, with the minimum investment usually being just computer and gaming equipment and software. For additional funding or to create a state-of-the-art esports space from scratch, there are many opportunities for grants through local and state governments, edtech organizations and foundations, and sponsorships through local and edtech companies.
It’s important to have a comprehensive and detailed plan when you decide to start an k-12 esports program at your school. Answering questions and locking down details about logistics, esport chairs, esports lab room design, curriculum, and technology early on can ensure your ability to implement a successful program from the start.
To learn more about starting an esports program and using esports space design to support academic and social emotional skill development, read our new white paper.
Dr. Christina Counts, VP of Education for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces into modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space. She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!